EVERETT — A five-story student housing project on North Broadway can move forward, according to a recent ruling by a Snohomish County Superior Court judge.
The judgment upheld a hearing examiner decision.
Everett Community College filed the litigation against the city of Everett and Koz Development in October over the project.
A proposal for the triangle-shaped piece of land at 1020 N. Broadway, where Lilly’s Garden restaurant operated for many years, was approved by Everett’s planning department in June 2018.
The college argued the building should not be considered student housing because the project had no connection to EvCC. It also didn’t offer services associated with college lodging, such as support services, supervision or planned activities, “which are considered essential elements for safe and supportive college student housing,” according to court documents.
The college said the developer was using the term “student housing” to reduce the required amount of parking, which EvCC has called inadequate.
EvCC officials also worried the project will siphon residents from the college’s two dormitories. In court documents, EvCC said there was a small unmet student housing demand near the college.
Other objections included the size of the building which the college says would “aesthetically impair the entrance to the college by inserting a bulky, view-obstructing, six-story structure.”
The project has been scaled down over the past year.
Updated plans call for a five-story building with 124 units, and 62 parking spaces on the ground floor. Most of the furnished apartments, 104, will be studios, with the remaining 20 one-bedrooms.
The new plan eliminates retail space and reduces the height of the building. It also shrinks the apartment unit count by 16.
The redesign was done as a compromise with EvCC, said Cathy Reines, a founder and owner of Koz.
“The retail space was eliminated and the number of rooms reduced from 140 to 124 to condense the overall mass of the building as well as allow for the setback off of Broadway,” Reines said in an email.
Koz and EvCC have a history of working together. The college signed a long-term lease with Koz, which owns one of the college’s two dormitories, Mountain View. The college has a similar agreement with another company that built Cedar Hall.
The city of Everett is requiring Koz to rent 75 percent of the units to EvCC students, said Julio Cortes, a spokesperson for Everett. And the developer also cannot lease to a student with a car unless a parking stall is available.
“Access to housing is a significant issue facing our region and the city sees this project as a positive addition along the North Broadway corridor,” Cortes said in an email.
The college is considering appealing the ruling, said Katherine Schiffner, a spokesperson for EvCC, but no final decision has been made.